They’re late the party, but last week the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) announced that unlimited free Wi-Fi from Boingo Wirelss is now available at O’Hare International and Midway International Airports.
Until now, free Wi-Fi at these airports was offered for just 30-minutes, but the system is now upgraded to a free, unlimited service that offers streaming capability, courtesy of advertisements that show up every 45 minutes.
Passengers still have the option of buying faster, ad-free Wi-Fi by buying a one-day pass or using a Boingo subscription.
We all want unlimited free Wi-Fi at the airport and, increasingly, we’re getting it.
But not in the New York City-area at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International Airports.
Back in June 2014 the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced its intention to provide complimentary 30-minute Wi-Fi sessions throughout JFK, Newark and LaGuardia airports by the fall of 2014.
Some progress was made, but the deadline to complete the project got pushed back to March 2015 and today there are still major holes in the promised Wi-Fi coverage at these airports.
The official websites for JFK, LaGuardia and Newark still say Wi-Fi is provided everywhere on a pay-as-you-go basis. But the promised 30 minutes of complimentary Wi-Fi is available in some terminals all the time and in others on an occasional basis.
Six terminals now have the 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi offer in place and Port Authority says it is “working with Boingo to help expedite the placement of the service in the remaining terminals.”
For the terminals where the project is not yet completed, Boingo offers 20- or 30-minute complimentary Wi-Fi sessions, but only when sponsorships are available.
So when and where are complimentary Wi-Fi sessions offered?
Terminals currently offering 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi include:
• Newark: Terminals B and C
• JFK: Terminals 4 and 8
• LaGuardia: Terminal A and B
Terminals pending conversion, but where sponsored sessions are offered 50% of the time include:
• Newark: Terminal A
• JFK: Terminals 1, 2 and 7
• LaGuardia: Terminals C and D
Elsewhere, though, JetBlue independently provides unlimited free Wi-Fi in Terminal 5 at JFK and OTG offers unlimited complimentary web browsing on more than 3,000 fixed iPads in some gate areas and restaurants in Newark, JFK and LaGuardia.
“The Port Authority’s announcement of free WiFi in June was a major win for passengers, and the right thing to do,” said Joe Stitt, Chairman and Founder of the advocacy group Global Gateway Alliance, “But the agency now needs to honor that commitment and bring true free WiFi to every terminal at our airports for all 112 million New York-New Jersey passengers.”
Neither Boingo nor the Port Authority responded to requests for a new target date for the completion of the project.
In June, 2014 the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced its intention to revise its agreement with Boingo and offer complimentary 30-minute Wi-Fi for all passengers at the JFK, LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International Airport and Stewart International Airport in Newburgh by fall.
Did that happen?
Not quite yet.
According to a joint statement from the Port Authority and Boingo, existing wireless networks are currently being upgraded at the Port Authority¹s airports and “free Wi-Fi will be available in at least one terminal at JFK, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia Airports by month¹s end, with the free service at all terminals anticipated by the end of the first quarter of 2015.”
Boing spokeswoman Katie O’Neill said that complimentary 30-minute Wi-Fi sessions are currently available in JFK Terminal 4 and Newark (EWR) Terminal C, with free service on target to be available at LaGuardia¹s Central Terminal Building by the end of December.
In the meantime, O’Neill said Boingo is getting sponsors to cover some complimentary 30-minute Wi-Fi sessions and that Amazon, Citi/AA Advantage Card, Volkswagen and American Airlines, and others are lined up to cover sessions at the airports through the end of the year.
Upgrades are also scheduled for Stewart Airport’s Wi-Fi network, sometime in the first quarter of 2015 and O’Neill said Boingo has sponsors lined for complimentary 30-minute sessions there through the end of the year.